My wife Jun and I were supposed to meet with another couple at Hunan Slurp, a contemporary Chinese restaurant that opened last year where we had a very good meal (see my review here https://kenscale.com/2018/10/13/hunan-slurp/) on a recent Saturday for dinner. Before our dinner double date, though, I was starting to display some flu symptoms, particularly in my nasal area where I often struggle with congestion during the time of seasonal change. I wasn’t too sick, though, so we ended up meeting the couple anyways. Hunan Slurp is one of the restaurants I was hoping to visit more often as my impression on the first visit was quite positive (I was especially fond of the fish filet noodle soup). On this visit, the experience was slightly more mixed, especially with one dish that had a very divisive reaction among the four of us.
My condition probably played a role in my inability to truly appreciate the “stinky” smell of the stinky tofu that we ended up ordering. While I thought the deep fried tofu, accompanied by pickled daikon and cilantro to give a refreshing touch, was just fine as an appetizer, I was startled when Jun sitting next to me was screaming “Oh my God, what is this dish!?” Jun, always the more sensitive one when it comes to the way the food tastes and smells, was horrified with the flavor of the dish, comparing it to tofu that would’ve been on the dirty Manhattan street for weeks. The husband from the other couple, on the other hand, gladly finished the rest of tofu on the plate. Unlike the stinky tofu, everyone liked the Hunan charcuterie, an assortment of beef shank and tripe as well as pig’s ear and tongue that could’ve been even more wonderful with a bit more spicy kick. Just like last time, we ordered the skewered beef that served as a very good snack while we were sipping on the wine that I brought to the table. We also ordered the pepper and pork (Berkshire one that was stir fried) noodle; while it wasn’t too bad, especially for a chilly fall dinner, it didn’t leave the same impression as the deeply flavorful fish filet soup from last time. For the fresh whole fish on the menu, the kitchen brought out striped bass steamed with home-made chopped chili sauce. Initially, the pile of garlic on top of the fish was a bit too overwhelming, but once you move the garlic aside, you’ll have a solid fish dish with the right amount of spicy flavor.
Getting a reservation at Hunan Slurp isn’t too difficult; the trendy-looking dining room was quite full during our meal, though, so if you can, always book ahead. Unlike the last time, there are some alcoholic beverage options, but I looked up the drink menu before coming and didn’t find wines that I thought were attractive enough so ended up bringing a couple of bottle (the restaurant allows up to two wine bottles per table at $15 corkage fee each) to share with the group. The menu at Hunan Slurp seems to be changing frequently with seasonal specials so I’m inclined to visit again in the future trying other dishes. At least I now know that I should never ever order the stinky tofu when I visit with Jun!
KenScale: 8.0/10 (Jun’s Score: 7.5/10)
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
- Value: 8.0/10
Address: 112 First Avenue, New York, NY 10009
Telephone: (646) 585-9585